Three Longshots to Bet For The 2018 Kentucky Derby
Longshot Contenders in the Kentucky Derby
Over the past five races, the odds on the Kentucky Derby winner have ranged from a low of 2-1 on Nyquist in 2016, to 5-1 on Orb in 2013. In the five years previous, the odds on the winners ranged from 8-1 on Super Saver in 2010, to 50-1 on Mine That Bird in 2009.
So while the recent trend has been to see lower-priced runners hit the Churchill Downs finish line first, in the wide-open Derby with 20 horses trying to negotiate traffic and overcome the 1 1/4 mile distance, there’s always the possibility a longshot could pull off the upset.
Here’s a look at three colts currently listed at 8-1 or higher in Bovada’s online racebook who could be wearing the blanket of roses on Saturday and offer big payouts.
Derby Longshot Good Magic (8-1)
It’s unusual for the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion to be considered a longshot in the Derby, but with a very deep field going to the gate on Saturday, such is the case with Good Magic. Part of that is because the the Breeders’ Cup was his first lifetime win at odds of 11-1, and many thought he just caught all the breaks on that day.
Part of it is that he didn’t run very well in his 2018 debut, finishing a dull third in the (G2) Fountain of Youth Stakes behind two horses he should have been able to handle easily. Part of it is that he has simply been lost in the hype that has surrounded other colts like Justify and Mendelssohn.
But here’s the thing – he was coming off a four-month layoff going into the FOY, and stepped up next out to win the (G1) Blue Grass Stakes, so he’s on the third race of his form cycle, and could be sitting on a big effort. The BC Juvenile win was a very good race, and he beat four others he’ll face in the Derby field. His best speed figure puts him in the top five in the field, and he has a solid pedigree to get the 1 1/4 miles.
Derby Longshot Bolt d’Oro (17-2)
Similar to Good Magic, his stock has fallen slightly as attention has turned to others. He was the favorite last November for the BC Juvenile after two dominating wins to start his career, but after a poor break form the gate he was forced to run wide through that entire race and ending up running third.
In his first start of 2018 he battled stride-for-stride with Derby contender McKinzie (until he was hurt) and hit the wire a head back of that one in the (G2) San Felipe Stakes, but got the benefit of a bumping inquiry and was put up to first. Last time out in the (G1) Santa Anita Derby he ran second, three lengths behind Justify. But a closer look at that race shows that when Justify went to an easy lead, none of the lesser horses in the race were willing to take him on, and so Bolt d’Oro was forced to try and be the one to pressure him in the stretch, and Justify had lots of energy left to fend him off in the stretch.
What this all means is that Bolt d’Oro is a very good horse, who has raced with some of the best colts his age and not been outrun by much. He has the second fastest lifetime speed figure in the Derby field, and if he can run close to his best effort, he has a solid shot to win.
Derby Longshot Noble Indy (30-1)
Although he has won three of his four lifetime starts, the knock against Noble Indy is that he hasn’t beaten very good horses. He got his start very late in his two-year-old season, not racing until December, but winning his first time out. He then got a win in an allowance race to start off 2018, ran third behind a pair of longshots in the (G3) Risen Star Stakes, and then came back to won the (G1) Louisiana Derby against several of those same horses.
But this looks like a horse that is just learning how to race, and could take a big step forward in the Derby. In the Risen Star he was trapped behind the two front-runners all the way around the track, and couldn’t get through when a small hole opened up late. For the Louisiana Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher added blinkers to get him more focused, and he made a big move (at a much faster early pace than the Risen Star) on the turn to take over the lead.
He was actually passed by two others in the stretch drive, but fought back to get the win, something that you almost never see. And the way he finished up suggests he wants more distance. He’s going to have to overcome the wide #18 post, but he has a lot of potential to get better.
Betting Kentucky Derby Longshots
One of the big considerations in betting longer shot horses is whether to take the current price, or wait to see what happens on race day. Of these three horses, it’s likely that Bolt d’Oro and Good Magic will drop a bit in the odds, while Noble Indy could even drift a bit higher.
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